What Macklemore got wrong…and right

Last night on the Grammy’s, hip-hop artist Macklemore performed his song “Same Love” as Queen Latifah presided over a “wedding” ceremony for about thirty couples. Many of the couples being married were same-sex, and that was the point of the entire event—to show that there is no moral distinction between same-sex marriage and conjugal marriage. It’s all just the “same love.”

The lyrics to Macklemore’s song took aim at Christians and their views on marriage. To be more precise, it takes aim at the God that Christians worship and offers another god in His place—a god that bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible. Nevertheless, these performers were obviously grasping for divine approval. All of the trappings of Christianity were invoked to bless “same love”—a stage decorated to look like a church, a “minister” presiding, and a gospel choir singing the words of 1 Corinthians 13. You might say that it had the form of godliness while denying its power (2 Tim. 3:5).

What struck me about the performance, however, was not what Macklemore got wrong but the one thing that he got ironically right. In one line from “same love,” Macklemore says this:

Whatever god you believe in
We come from the same one

This statement is profoundly true, although Macklemore is probably not aware of its true implication. We all really do come from one creator God. From one man, God made every nation of mankind (Acts 17:25). As the Psalmist writes,

Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. – Psalm 100:3

God made us. Every single one of us. And that is true whether or not you believe it. It is true even if you believe in a false god. But that truth does not imply that God approves of everything that His creatures do (as Macklemore appears to believe). It does imply that God is God. And He is not accountable to us, but we to Him (Heb. 9:27).

The Bible is crystal clear that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Because of this, all of us have earned God’s judgment (Rom. 6:23). Every one of us stands in need of salvation from this horrific prospect (Rev. 20:15).

The good news of the gospel is this. God loves sinners (John 3:16). And because of His great love, He has made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself. He sent His one and only son Jesus to the world. Jesus succeeded where all of us have failed. He lived a perfect life. In the fullness of time, he gave himself over to be executed on a Roman cross. Three days later, he rose bodily from the grave. He is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven (Rom. 8:34). Through his death he offers us the forgiveness of sins, and through his resurrection he offers us the promise of eternal life.

We cannot earn our salvation. Jesus earned it for us. We can only receive it by repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). Repentance means turning away from our sin. Faith means putting our trust in Christ alone to save us based on his death and resurrection. God is lavish in His invitation. He offers this salvation to anyone who will have it—to gay, straight, red, yellow, black, and white. Anyone is welcome to come by repentance and faith. Anyone.

So here’s the question for everyone watching the Grammys and wondering what God really thinks about all of this spectacle. Are you going to believe in the God of the Bible and His way of salvation? Or are you going to trust yourself to the god of “same love.” The god of “same love” says no repentance and no savior is required. That god approves you just the way you are. The God of the Bible says you need repentance and salvation. That God will save you just the way you are. And He will take you to Himself and remake you into the image of His own dear son (Rom. 8:29). But you must repent, and you must believe.

In the wake of the Grammys, the big question is not what you thought of Macklemore. The big question is which God you will believe in. The false god of “same love,” or the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ? Which one will you choose?

40 Responses to What Macklemore got wrong…and right

  1. mattsvo January 27, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Thanks for this, Denny.

  2. Ian Shaw January 27, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Great piece Denny. I guess I am glad I missed some of the earlier shennanigans of the show from what I heard. I waited all night to hear a song from probably the most talented song writers and muscians in the whole group last night- Metallica. Though I didn’t care for the arangement of ‘One’ that they did.

    Close honorable mention for Chicago performing. Crazy to believe that those “old guys” have more talent than most there last night.

  3. Brett Cody January 27, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    Evidence of the truth that it’s not that we preach, it’s what we preach that people don’t like.

  4. Dan Phillips January 27, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    Ooh, a shout-out for Chicago.

    Best. DennyBurke. Meta. EVAR.

    (Good post, too!)

  5. buddyglass January 27, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    I often thought about writing this very same essay (though, probably longer) when that song came out. There’s a lot of truth, but also a lot of misunderstanding.

  6. Kevin Otrhalik January 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Macklemore got it right about being “preconditioned” and when he said “I can’t change even if I wanted to.” That’s not just true for people who are “gay,” but for all “brands” of sinful human beings. The Bible is clear that all of us are prisoners to sin and unable to change ourselves. It says, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images ….” Rom. 1:22 “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” Rom. 1:24

    Salvation comes when we turn away from worthless “images” back to God (“repent”) through His Son, Jesus, our Savior. With Jesus on the throne of our lives we won’t look to other people to fulfill what’s missing in us (to “sexualize” needs for self-confidence, worth, and identity.) Without Him we’re slaves to any desire that comes along.

  7. Robert Paske January 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    For me, Macklemore is not trying to say that god will forgive people for being gay, and that they don’t need to change. He is saying that there is nothing wrong with being gay, and they don’t need to change. Macklemore may very well believe that we do need to repent for our sins, he just doesn’t think being gay is one. Disagree if you will (and I know you will), but I don’t know how you can say he is talking about a false god, just because you don’t agree. For example, some people would say god would not approve of the death penalty, while others would disagree. Does that mean that they believe in different gods?

  8. Sam Hamoe January 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    One thing for everyone to consider:

    Homosexuality seems to be a pretty significant concern of many Christians these days. It clearly says in the Bible that it is an abomination. Another reason why Christians have such a problem with it is because it is a lifestyle of sin and they are right; it absolutely is an abomination according to the scriptures.

    Jesus says in Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:31-32) that, “… whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” The interesting parallel is that both take place very frequently in the US these days and both are lifestyles of sin according to scriptures.

    What I would like everyone to consider is why you feel so comfortable encouraging homosexuals to end their sinful “marriages”, but very infrequently encourage remarried individuals to end their sinful “marriages”. In remaining consistent with this article, aren’t these two instances pretty close to being the “same love”?

    I am not trying to pick a fight. I just think it is important to treat all people equally and ethically. I am not requesting that people go out and chastise people who are remarried, I am asking you to read the Bible more fervently and never to gloss over the verses that rub you the wrong way. In regard to homosexuality, for me – when considering whether it is a mortal sin or not, the jury is still out. Luckily for me, I’m not on the jury.

    If you wish to respond, please do it with love.

    “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
    C.S Lewis

    • James Stanton January 27, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      Well, you bring up an interesting point. I’ll say I echo some of your concern but only because divorce is far more of an actual threat to Christians and non-Christians alike and for the most part will greater impact impact families in a destructive way. I’m not saying homosexuality isn’t a sin or an issue worth confronting but that the widespread acceptability of divorce, and its underlying causes, in society is far more of a real world concern to most in the Church than gay marriage.

      “What I would like everyone to consider is why you feel so comfortable encouraging homosexuals to end their sinful “marriages”, but very infrequently encourage remarried individuals to end their sinful “marriages”

      This is where things have become so problematic. If I were a minister I would be hesitant to conduct a marriage knowing that one of the couple was previously married and not knowing the circumstances of the divorce. There are many who hold that a “lawful” instance of divorce means one can re-marry. It’s simply far easier to cast judgement on homosexuality isn’t it?

    • Matt Black January 27, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      Hey Sam. Good post here. I feel like I have a response to this for you to consider. Sorry if it turns out long.
      1) Two wrongs don’t make a right. Even though you probably know this, that’s kind of how your point comes across, essentially – “We allow for divorce, why not allow gay marraige?” or maybe more accurately “Let’s take a seemingly unnecessary amount of attention from this topic and focus it to other needy topics, like divorce”. I think idealistically this sounds fair, but realistically we’re living in a different world. This is a critical time for the homosexual movement – as evidenced by the Grammy performance – and while you’re right that both are labeled sinful by scripture, we’re on the verge (if not already over the edge) of a cultural decision that is now coming to a head: do we agree that it’s okay? You’re right, in many ways it seems our culture has already gone over the edge on divorce, but at the same time I have seen the church make many, many efforts to train, prepare, and equip men and women for marriage. While it may not be as flashy as the stand against homosexuality, I think the church’s stand against divorce is still holding strong. (At least in the churches I’ve known).
      2) On your point in which you expressed “I just think it is important to treat all people equally and ethically”. I think this is a common grouping of two seemingly compatible “virtues” that create a misconception. For instance, I think I would be safe in saying that I don’t know anyone who believes it is important to treat all people equally. What we mean when we say that is that we think equality should be a goal to strive towards so long as it is equally beneficial. Society, for instance, mostly believes a soldier should have the right to carry a fully automatic assault rifle while on duty. Conversely, it mostly believes a convicted gang-banger in Los Angeles should not have that right. Because equality isn’t really the concern, it’s the benefit that we’re after. In the story of Adam and Eve they become aware of their nakedness after they eat of the fruit hoping to be equal to God. In a way, the fruit did make them more equal – they became aware of what God already knew. And yet in that case their equality resulted in their detriment. In these and other cases, the equal choice is not always (and often is not) the ethical one. I could go on with other examples, but I hope you get my point. To truly observe the Christian position, then, we must understand that we are not interested in equality – not really. But we also understand that equality is not often the virtue it is hyped up to be. We are interested in truth, and leading our fellow man into a life more abundant through the work and teachings of Christ. We deny ourselves, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and we encourage others to do the same. I love C.S. Lewis, and I think that’s a wonderful quote. I hope this came across as loving, and to end with a quote myself:

      “I’m not a prophet of doom, I’m a prophet of love. But love will bid a warning doom to the children who play on the freeway. We need to wake up…” – Keith Green

    • Brett Cody January 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      Sam,
      Don’t forget to factor in the already existing divorce rate among homosexuals who are participaing in the sinful fiction of homosexual “marriage”. I doubt the media likes anyone to mention that divorce has happened among homosexuals, but it has. I would be curious to see the track record of longevity when it comes to homosexual “marriage”, but it truly hasn’t had any real place in human history, has it?

    • Kim Geesaman January 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

      Thank you so much for making this point. It is something I am struggling with right now. In God’s eyes, sin is sin, so I have been wondering how we as Christians gloss over so many sins that exist in our daily lives and give such attention homosexuality. They are not granted membership in churches and are, at times, if they “come out” while having a membership in a church lose their membership. This may seem simple, but over weight and obese people who practice gluttony are not held to the same standard, same as your example of remarriage – so many questions.

      So, here is what I am thankful for…I am only responsible for myself in God’s eyes. I try to love everyone and not judge. We are all sinners and thankfully, God forgives and accepts those of us who accept His only Son who He sacrificed for us all.

  9. James Bradshaw January 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    ” The god of “same love” says no repentance and no savior is required.”

    The thing is that these folks don’t believe that being in a committed same-sex relationship is anything to regret or repent of. They (we) don’t believe it can be likened to rape, pedophilia, murder, theft and every other type of obvious crime or sin one can commit (even though Christians are fond of equating all of these as being somehow equal and analogous).

    What you’re doing is making salvation being predicated upon not only believing certain things but behaving in a very specific way. If that’s the case, that means it is possible to fully know what God’s moral will is in all situations and to completely abide by it in this life.

    I don’t believe that …. do you?

    • Michael January 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      NAILED IT.

    • Frank Franklin January 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

      Of course its possible. Scripture is certainly clear about many things, sexuality and marriage being two of them.

    • Daryl Little January 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      Why yes, I do. Scripture is pretty plain.

    • Brett Cody January 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      James,
      Note that sodomy was an ‘obvious crime’ not too long ago in our country. I don’t think you have clarified where the line ought to be drawn. By what moral criteria should we condemn rape, pedophilia, etc…? What makes them obvious crime or sin?

      If you are honest, you will admit that the moral compass that condemns homosexuality along with all other sin is from God. God is the one that condemns sin. He has put in place the morality. We have all fallen short.

      • James Bradshaw January 28, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

        Brett, do I really need to explain the difference between the rape of a child and sex between two consenting adults?

        Yes, some of my values are derived from a Christian world view, but not all of them …. especially when those ethics defy reason, justice or compassion as I understand them to be. I don’t believe it’s a sin or unethical for a woman to divorce an abusive husband (despite Matthew 5:32). I don’t believe that human slavery (or indentured servitude) is an ethical way of dealing with others or even of having them pay off their debts to you or anyone else (even if Scripture condones or even mandates it). I don’t believe that men and women who are predominantly same-sex oriented should try to marry a heterosexual or remain celibate for the entirety of their lives.

        What you’re asking me to do is essentially stifle my own sense of right and wrong because it conflicts with Scripture and adopt its hierarchy of values as my own. I don’t think I could do it if I tried.

        • Brad Young January 29, 2014 at 10:32 am #

          “What you’re asking me to do is essentially stifle my own sense of right and wrong because it conflicts with Scripture”

          The scriptures are God’s revealed word to mankind, if you deny God’s words to mankind then you deny the God behind them, and denying God is the root of sin. “Did god really say….”

          The scriptures are also very clear on our own sense of right and wrong

          The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
          Gen 6:5

          The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
          to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
          They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
          there is none who does good, not even one.
          Psalms 14:2-3

          Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
          Judges 17:6 & 21:25 speaking of some of the darkest days in Israel

          “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes”
          Deut 12:8

          No one understands, no one seeks after good Romans 3:11

          For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

          Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
          but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered .Proverbs 28:26

          The heart is deceitful above all things,
          and desperately sick;
          who can understand it?
          10 i“I the Lord search the heart
          jand test the mind,2
          kto give every man according to his ways,
          according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jer 17:9-10

          The call to repentance is to stop trusting in yourself, turn from your ways to Gods ways.

          Yes, please give up your ways and thoughts and turn to God’s ways and thoughts

  10. Michael January 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    good stuff man. I believe in the power of repentance and truly believe that trust in Jesus is what saves humanity, not morality. my only question in reading this is: what do we as followers of Christians believe we are achieving by singling out homosexuality and passive aggressively calling “them” to repentance? what if we loved them as they are, where they are, and for who they are all the while being faithful to love the God of creation? I really believe we’d see less division between the gay community and the faith community and Christ would actually be represented better than we can imagine. That’s what this is all about anyone, right? representing Jesus? or is it about winning the moral argument against homosexuality? if I’m off, let me know. I just believe we have a duty to love our neighbors in a passionate way and in doing so, see them experience the kingdom that we have.

    • doccochran January 27, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

      Michael and James, I think you might be too quickly passing judgment on Denny’s position. First, James, how does calling one to repent of homosexuality equate to having to know and obey God’s complete will prior to salvation? Second, Michael, you seem to have missed Denny’s point altogether. He was not singling out homosexuals. He was pointing out the difference between the God of the Bible and the god represented at the Grammys. But I would ask both of you to reflect more clearly on what Jesus meant when he preached from the very beginning of his ministry to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. While I agree that social mores are not the main point of Christ’s preaching, I would also say it is unavoidable that “repent” calls for action derived from belief. Mere cognitive assent is not what Jesus called his followers to, for He made plain that basic discipleship is learning to obey everything He commanded (Matthew 28:16-20).

  11. Tom Ruth January 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    The Book they say is obsolete, states that this will happen in end times. They are not aware that they are mocking God. He will judge us all in the end, this is not a threat, but the truth. Same sex attacks civilization, by destroying the family. There have been civilizations throughout history that made same sex, a normal part of their culture, and they ceased to exist. You can look at the Greeks, Persians, and Roman cultures, they softened their outlook, and they were destroyed. I know every new generation that comes along, always says the previous generation failed because they were not as smart as us.

  12. Curt Day January 29, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Certainly we need to answer the question of which god we will choose. For Christians, however, there is a followup question. That is whether we try to rule over society. The New Testament is clear about what to expect from society. That is because society is the place where both those who are not in good standing with the Church because of belief or practice and those in the Church. This is evident when Jesus or Paul talk about removing someone from the Church.

    To answer the question we should note that we are called to imitate Christ in His first coming, not His second.

  13. Jenna Gossett January 31, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9
    When Mark records “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her” the implied assumption is “Whoever divorces his wife without cause…” I believe Jesus spoke the exception clause. Matthew included it to be clear, while Mark and Luke left it out because they thought it was already a given. No one in Judaism disagreed that divorce was acceptable on grounds of sexual immorality.

    “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.” 1 Corinthians 7:15
    Here’s the second ground for a divorce: desertion by an unbelieving spouse. Now, we should try to live at peace with an unbelieving spouse. After all, God may save your spouse through you. Reconciliation is still the ideal. But if the unbeliever refuses to live with you and leaves, let him do so. You are not bound to be married when your unbelieving spouse deserts you.

    The traditional Protestant position—the position written down in the Westminster Confession and held by most evangelicals—is that divorce is permissible on two grounds: sexual immorality and desertion. In both cases the marriage covenant is severed. In one case, because sexual intimacy has taken place with another. And in the second case, because the spouse just plain isn’t there.

    Jesus gave two grounds for divorce. I think it’s possible that God did not mean to give us every possible grounds for divorce in the New Testament because marriage is sacred in His eyes. So might there be one or two other grounds for divorce?

    Some could argue, “This man (or woman) has not completely disappeared but his life is tantamount to desertion.” If a guy is strung out on drugs, gambling all their worldly possessions, and has repeatedly beaten his wife, might that count as desertion at some point?

    This is why each case needs to be dealt with individually. It’s also why we need biblical principles, so we have something to apply in these gut-wrenching, difficult sinful scenarios.

    Therefore if divorce isn’t considered a sin, remarriage can’t be considered a sin either.

  14. Jenna Gossett January 31, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    First of all, not all of Leviticus is written to everyone. There were abominations that applied only to the Jews such as eating shellfish, rabbit, and pork, etc., which were things that typologically represented purity before the Lord. We know this because God says, “Speak to the sons of Israel saying…” He gives instructions to the Israelites, not to the rest of the nations .Contextually, chapter 17 is about blood atonement procedures, so that is for Israel, not for everyone. In Chapter 18 God says to Israel, “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you,” (Lev. 18:3). So, now instead of it applying only to Israel, God mentions things that are done by Egypt and the land of Canaan. What were the things those nations did? The chapter contains the following.Lev. 18:6-18, don’t uncover the nakedness of various relatives.
    Lev. 18:19, don’t have sexual relations with woman on her period
    Lev. 18:20, don’t have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife
    Lev. 18:21, don’t offer children to Molech
    Lev. 18:22, don’t lie with a male as with a female
    Lev. 18:23 don’t have intercourse with animals. We see there are requirements in Leviticus only for the Israelites, and there are lists of abominations spoken of that were for the non-Israelites as well. It is in the latter group that homosexuality is listed. It is a mistake for people to mix topics intended only for Israel with topics that included the non-Israelites. Furthermore, when we see that the New Testament condemns the idea of homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27, we could see the continuity between Old Testament moral law and New Testament moral law.
    A common mistake made by homosexual proponents when discussing the Old Testament, in particular Leviticus, is the failure to understand the three main divisions of the Law: civil, ceremonial, and moral. This is important because the civil and ceremonial law are not in effect now, but the moral law is. Let’s take a look at these divisions within the book of Leviticus since it is the book under examination. Civil – Expired with the demise of the Jewish civil government
    Justice practices (Lev. 24:17-23)
    Law of property redemption (Lev. 25)
    Be just with the poor, (Lev. 19:15)
    Do not hate in your heart (Lev. 19:17)
    Retain just scales in commerce (Lev. 19:35f)
    Robbery, extortion, false witness, and restitution (Lev. 6:1-7)
    Ceremonial – Expired with the fulfillment of priestly work of Christ (Matt. 3:15)
    Various sacrificial offerings for sin (Lev. 1,2,3,4,5,6)
    Priestly duties (Lev. 7:1-37)
    Laws on animals for food (Lev. 11:1-47)
    Cleaning house of leper (Lev. 14:33-57)
    Law of Atonement (Lev. 16:1-28;17:1-16)
    Regulations for Priests (Lev. 21,22)
    Festivals (Lev. 23:1-25)
    Moral – No Expiration because it is based on God’s character. “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy,” (Lev. 19:2)
    Do not steal or lie (Lev. 19:11)
    Do not oppress your neighbor (Lev. 19:13)
    No idolatry (Lev. 26:1-13)
    Don’t sacrifice children to Molech (Lev. 20:1-5)
    Don’t commit adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. (Lev. 20:9-21)
    You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18) Homosexuality is under the moral law category. In addition, as stated earlier, it is an abomination practiced by all people (Egypt and Canaan), not just the Israelites. Therefore, we see that the moral aspects of the Law are still in effect, but not the civil or ceremonial. Again, there were things addressed to Israel only where God said “speak to the sons of Israel saying…” These things included atonement for unintentional sins, eating habits, uncleanness, feast days, rest days, etc., which do not apply for us today.

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